Division of Ag offers grants to improve food security in Alaska

Individuals and organizations can apply; deadline is March 30.

As part of a continuing effort to improve food security for Alaskans, the state Division of Agriculture is offering $2 million in grants to individuals and organizations who want to grow and preserve their own food.

The grants are being offered through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Micro-Grants for Food Security Program (MGFSP). This is the second year the grants have been offered in Alaska. In 2021, the Division of Ag received more than 1,000 proposals for funding and awarded more than $1.6 million to 234 grantees.

“The last two years have taught Alaskans the importance of increasing local production of food and storage capabilities,” Alaska Division of Agriculture Director David W. Schade said, referring to supply chain issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. “We are fortunate to offer another opportunity to apply for the micro-grants in 2022. We have worked with USDA to simplify the process and expand the opportunity for more Alaskans to receive funding.”

The grant application period opened on Monday, Feb. 14 and closes at 5 p.m. on March 30.

Individuals can apply for up to $5,000 and qualifying organizations can apply for up to $10,000. The grants are for one year and can be for anything from building a greenhouse to growing a garden to buying a freezer to fencing in livestock. Preference is given to individuals and groups in Alaska’s most vulnerable areas in terms of food security.

“We will prioritize funding of grants for projects that affect our most food-insecure areas and increase local food production and storage.” Schade said.

The MGFSP is part of the 2018 Farm Bill that created a special program for Alaska, Hawaii and the U.S. Territories for improvements to food security. The program helps individuals and organizations increase the quantity and quality of locally grown food in

food insecure communities through small-scale, agricultural-related projects. Qualifying projects may include small-scale gardening, small-scale herding and livestock operations, and/or expanding access to food, safe food storage, and knowledge of food security.

The program has undergone several changes, which will increase the opportunities for more Alaskans to participate and reduce the challenges of the reimbursement process and reporting for those receiving grants.

“I am pleased that the USDA Agriculture Marketing Service has approved Alaska’s new streamlined, simple process for grant projects, as many grant programs are difficult for many of our rural residents to use,” said Governor Mike Dunleavy. “Food security is a high priority of my administration and support of this program continues my administration’s efforts to move Alaska toward greater food independence”.

More detailed information on the micro-grants can be accessed at the Division of Agriculture website. For questions not addressed on the website refer to the Alaska Grown Facebook LIve events. You may also submit questions with Micro-grants 2022 in the subject line to [email protected].

Applications must be submitted electronically via the Division of Agriculture SmartSimple application portal. Instructional videos for how to submit the application can be found at Alaska Grown – YouTube.